Although many spend several months or even years planning their wedding, most would agree that the big day is over in a flash.
Many things from a couple's wedding day can be preserved, though, so they can be admired and enjoyed long after the event is over with.
While a bride can stuff her wedding dress into the closet or simply shove her flower bouquet into the freezer, experts say there are better ways to save these and other important items from the big day.
Photo submitted by Carli Dixon.
FreezeFrame is an Ohio company through which a person can get their wedding flowers placed into a frame, along with their wedding photo.
Although a wedding dress is only worn once, that doesn't mean it has to be left in a closet to become discolored, wrinkled and possibly destroyed.
Vogue Swift in Marietta offers wedding gown restoration and preservation services, for those who want to keep their dress as nice as it was on their big day.
Preserving the dress:
Have your gown cleaned as soon as possible after your wedding, as some stains can set permanently if you wait too long.
Do not wrap your dress in plastic before sending it to be cleaned and preserved. This can seal in off-gassing vapors and trap moisture, possibly creating mold and mildew.
Use a plastic or padded hanger instead of an ordinary wooden or wire hanger to hang your dress before sending it to be cleaned and preserved because the weave of the fabric will stretch and distort due to the weight of the dress.
Do not store your dress in a hot attic or damp basement after it has been preserved. Instead, put it under a bed or in a dry closet.
Preserving the flowers
Silica gel, pressing and freeze-drying are all used to preserve flowers; however, freeze drying is the only method that allows for open arrangements, which don't have a protective covering.
If using a professional to preserve the flowers, drop them off as soon after the wedding as possible.
Consider preserving a few select blooms rather than the whole bouquet to cut down on the cost of preservation.
Preserving the cake
Before the wedding, find a plastic container with an airtight lid that will hold the top tier of the cake.
Chill the cake before wrapping it so the icing hardens and won't stick to the plastic wrap
Wrap the unadorned cake in several layers of plastic wrap, then place it in the container. The container should be wrapped in tin foil.
The company's vice-president, Andy Fenton, said it's never too late for a person to get their gown restored or preserved.
The price for preserving a dress starts at $150, but can be higher depending on the size of the train, he said.
"What we do is actually clean it and press it, then we put it in a box with acid free tissue paper and that's what helps preserve it for a lifetime," he said. "It's sealed in the box with the acid free tissue paper, so as long as it's not opened, it's preserved. There's a window so they can view the dress and for generations say 'This is my dress.'"
Fenton noted that the bride has the option of including her veil, shoes, garter and other items in the box.
"The mothers are the ones that say, 'I should've done this,'" Fenton said. "You don't realize how good of a decision it is to box your wedding dress until 10 years later."
The Knot wedding website indicates there are some things that should not be done before a dress is sent to be cleaned and preserved.
It should not be wrapped in plastic, as this can seal in off-gassing vapors and trap moisture, possibly creating mold and mildew. It should also not be hung on an ordinary wooden or wire hanger because the weave of the fabric will be stretched and distorted due to the weight of the dress. A plastic or padded hanger is best.
Gone are the days of shoving a bouquet into a freezer or stuffing parts of it into a book to be dried out, only for it to be forgotten about or never displayed.
A person can instead turn their wedding flowers into jewelry or get them framed, through Clayton, Ohio-based businesses Bloombeads and FreezeFrame, owned by Carli Dixon and her mom, Nanci Hames.
They started FreezeFrame in 1993. The options a person has for framing their flowers are nearly endless, with frames and mats of many shapes, sizes and colors being offered.
"Eighty percent of what we dry goes through freeze drying, so whether the client want to get jewelry or a frame or a little of both, it starts with the freeze drying process," Dixon said.
Through the Bloombeads company, which was started three years ago, a person can get their wedding flowers turned into any piece of jewelry, including earrings, a necklace, a bracelet or a ring.
"Our focus for the 18 years has been on establishing systems and procedures that allow for long-term color retention and shape retention," Dixon said. "We're in an industry that didn't think of those things. The most important thing was drying those flowers, no matter what they look like."
Serendypity bridal shop in Parkersburg serves as an easy ship partner for FreezeFrame and Bloombeads, meaning that is where local folks can get a kit for shipping their flowers to the Ohio companies.
For a person who wants to dry their own flowers and pick their own method for displaying them, The Knot website recommends the use of silica gel, pressing, or freeze drying, with freeze drying being the method that allows for open arrangements, which don't have a protective covering.
Marietta residents Jenna and Bo Richardson got married on July 31, 2010, and one year later, they ate the top layer of their wedding cake, which had been stored in their freezer.
"We were very traditional with the entire wedding, so we wanted to keep that tradition, as well," said Jenna Richardson, 26.
Saving the top layer of a wedding cake for a first anniversary is a tradition that dates back to the late 19th century, according to hudsonvalleyweddings.com.
That's when christenings occurred soon after wedding ceremonies and cakes were baked for both. As wedding cakes became more elaborate and made with three tiers, they became more important than the christening cakes, although the top tier was usually left over.
A christening was a good time to finish the top of the cake and although weddings and christenings were held farther apart over the years, people continued to save the top tier of their cake.
There are many theories on how a person should go about freezing their cake.
Richardson said her cake was wrapped in cling wrap, then aluminum foil. The cake was then placed in a cardboard box and it, too, was wrapped in cling wrap and aluminum foil.
"I thought it tasted pretty good for being a year old," she said.
Cindy Morris, owner of the Little Stirr Bakery in Vienna, W.Va., said a plastic container works, too.
"If you can, put it into a Rubbermaid container that's sealed and then wrap that with Saran. It keeps other smells out," she said. "Or if they keep it in the cardboard box, you'd want to Saran wrap that."
Morris noted that the cake should be kept away from foods with strong smells.